If you've given up sweets for Lent, you might want to skip this post.
Yesterday, while the snow fell fast and furious, I stayed in my warm kitchen and baked some delicious cookies: Homemade Samoa Bars.
Yum, yum, yummy.
(And I don't even really like coconut but these cookies are goooood.)
Last week, a co-worker of Bill's brought in a batch of homemade Samoas - and he was able to snag an extra one for me to try. Well, let me tell you, Ellen's Samoa looked just like the kind that comes out of the box - only prettier - and the taste! Oh my, the taste. She forwarded Bill the recipe
because she knows how much I love to bake, and as I looked it over, I noticed a nifty variation for bar
cookies - as opposed to cut-out shapes. So much less fiddling and all the same great taste.
Here's the how it all went down.
I started by creaming 2 sticks of unsalted butter with 1/2 cup of sugar. Next I beat in 1 large room temperature egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. (Now I made a mistake here; the recipe actually only calls for 1 1/2 sticks - but somehow I got carried away. The shortbread crust still came out nicely.)
It baked, in a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan for 25 minutes at 350 F.
While the crust cooled on a wire rack, prepared the coconut. I've never toasted coconut before - it's kind of fun! I felt very much like the Barefoot Contessa, especially when Earlybird walked in, got a look at what I was doing, and promptly asked to watch Ina. :)
First I spread out 3 cups of Baker's "angel-flake, sweetened" coconut evenly on a cookie sheet (lined with a Silpat). I then toasted it at 300 F for 20 minutes, stirring lightly every 5 minutes or so.
It made the kitchen smell really nice.
While the coconut and shortbread crust cooled, I set the boys to work on the caramels. Their nimble little fingers unwrapped approximately 12 ounces of chewy caramels, tossing them in a Pyrex bowl. (I say approximately because the bag contained 14 ounces and we weren't too scientific about it. I just set aside a handful of candies and we worked with the rest.)
I added 3 Tbsp. milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the caramels and microwaved them for 3 1/2 minutes. (Stirring a few times as they cooked.) After the caramels were melted completely I folded in the toasted coconut ...
And then spread this mixture on top of the cooled shortbread crust.
Once the topping was cool, I cut the whole shebang into bars ...
... and then prepared the chocolate.
I microwaved 10 ounces of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips till smooth. (I actually melted the whole 12 oz. bag.) I dipped the bottom of each bar into the melted chocolate and then drizzled chocolate over the tops of the cookies (using a handy-dandy ziploc bag snipped at the corner).
A little while later the chocolate had set and the bars were ready to eat (and photograph).
They might not look exactly like a Samoa but they do taste awfully good.
Next up, I aim to try Thin Mints
. I'll let you know how they go ...